From Mario Kart to Resident Evil, video games have become a staple of modern society. Video games are far more than a mode of entertainment, they have become a billion dollar industry available on TVs, PCs, smartphones and tablets.
The video gaming industry has had a profound impact on not only American society, but global society as a whole. Prominent players can compete with people from around the world in tournaments and receive thousands of dollars in sponsorship and donations. Companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony make millions in revenue each year. South Korea has a huge gaming scene that may be a reason why the Internet speed is so fast. Video games are also a vehicle for socialization, projecting images and stereotypes to people of all ages.
In regards to business, video games have pushed companies to vertically integrate their functions. Software companies like Microsoft have gone into hardware via the Xbox. The opposite is true too, for example, Sony’s EA. Distributer Google hosts thousands of games on Google Play as well as Apple on the App Store. Vertical integration has proved successful for these companies and they show no sign of stopping. These companies have adapted to the effects of the principle of relative constancy. When households spend more on video games and equipment, they spend less on DVDs, CDs, radio, TV and so on. Therefore, companies expand their reach by making content or gaming hardware.
The content of video games has also been a hot topic of debate. Like TV, many people are questioning violence depicted in video games. As mentioned before, video games are a tool of socialization. Many have come under fire for their depictions of women, violence, and other cultures.
I’ve seen that many games are based on a foreign invasion where you are a patriot fighting back. These games subtly instill nationalism and can be argued that they also desensitize users to violence and war. There have also been controversies over the depiction and over-sexualization of women in games as well as the treatment of female players in the gaming community. Many times, games take place in foreign lands where the depictions of people and landscape can be negative.
Although concerned parents and some members of Congress are pushing for more regulations, I doubt these will pass any time soon. Instead, it’s up to users to push for accountability for video game producers.
Video games are far more than entertainment or hobbies. For some, it’s a way to make a living. Gaming culture has become a subculture in the United States gaining increasing spotlight with the wider diffusion of games. Globally, competitions bring people together from opposite ends of the world. In the US, gaming continues to influence the way we see ourselves and our relation to others through socialization. Video games have become a staple of our culture and will continue to stay that way for years to come.